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Old 06-22-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
MrJlr
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Default What should I look for in an air compressor?

I need to buy an air compressor for my home shop....gonna be pulling my engine soon...lots of good used ones on Craigslist...

Some have bigger tanks....more horsepower... (more $$$ !)

So what should an average Joe be looking for ? I know it's kinda a general question....sorry in advance ! LOL !

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Old 06-22-2010, 11:15 AM   #2
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Pumping up tires??? Sandblasting??? Air Tools?????????? Usage matters, or just get the biggest tank size and CFM you can afford, that should cover all spectrums............
A 60$ one from Harbor Freight will pump tires, but not be good for sandblasting or tools. A 5 hp from Sears with 20 gallon tank will run air tools but won't keep up with sandblasting, see the progression............
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:20 AM   #3
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Yes....tires and tools... But probably no sandblasting or painting, but as I power-wash the empty engine bay...I'll want to blow clean/dry as I go... That sort of thing...
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:42 AM   #4
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I have a Craftsman 1hp little thing, completely portable, and use it for tires and all kinds of smaller jobs.

I have a 5hp Craftsman which will run on 110 or 220. It's heavy duty and will run air tools. I've painted two cars with it. Got it on sale.

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Old 06-22-2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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Well, for tools you should have something with somewhat of an air tank, that way you have air in reserve and motor isn't constantly running. I have a 5hp gas compressor, a 2 stage 5hp 80 gallon tank for my sandblasting, I have a small one just for small stuff and an electric one I just got at Harbor Freight that handles the slightly larger stuff than tires. Something like this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/35-hp-2...sor-99925.html
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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USA 80 gal, cast iron 2-stage, and never look back. Bought it 15 years ago and was glad when I later built a homemade sandblast booth.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:52 PM   #7
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Something that puts out 11 or 12 CFM at 90 PSI with a 60 gal tank will run most air tools continuously and handle moderate amounts of sandblasting with a pressure pot sand blaster. I have a 6 hp single stage with a 60 gal tank that puts that out and it works for the vast majority of all the mechanical and body work I do. When I have more intensive sandblasting jobs I hook my 2 hp single stage 20 gal compressor to it (6.2 CFM @90) and it'll run the pressure pot sandblaster continuously for as long as I care to use it. I relied on the 2hp single stage unit alone for quite a number of years and did body work on a number of cars with it but it would only sandblast intermittently and with some air tools I'd have to take breaks to let the air build up. If you're just doing mechanical work with it and running air ratchets, impact guns, air chisels, and the like you don't need much of a compressor, a good 2 hp single stage unit putting out 5 CFM at 90 PSI will do.

Last edited by Priya; 06-22-2010 at 12:58 PM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mako72 View Post
USA 80 gal, cast iron 2-stage, and never look back. Bought it 15 years ago and was glad when I later built a homemade sandblast booth.
What is single stage verses 2 stage ???
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJlr View Post
What is single stage verses 2 stage ???
A single stage compresses the air once, a two stage compresses the air once and then compresses that air a second time. Two stage compressers produce more compressed air than single stage compressors. Two stage compressors are also significantly more expensive than single stage compressors.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:42 PM   #10
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I just purchased a new craftsman (reduced noise) compressor....LOVE IT! Yes it's still noisy but much better than the old ones.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:59 PM   #11
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I have a 30 gal ~5 hp 220volt cheepie I run off the clothes dryer line....same 30 amp circuit....

runs everything from spray paint on down the list....no sand blasting though....

set at 125 psi.....inline drier from harbor freight...

it works....been on line now for 13 years....I just use two ~25' hoses in the line, plenty of power for my Ingersoll 1/2 impact I never bothered with really actually shop plumbing it in.....like with water pipe type thing...
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:05 PM   #12
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Here's mine.

Craftsman Professional. 25 gal, 1.8 HP, two stage, oil lubed. 7.4 cfm @ 40 psi, 5.8 cfm @90 psi. Cost me about $400 18 months ago. I like the oil lube vice oil free, runs a lot quieter. Only need to change the oil every 160 hours of running time, which is a lifetime of use for me. Works for everything I need it for.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrJlr View Post
Yes....tires and tools... But probably no sandblasting or painting, but as I power-wash the empty engine bay...I'll want to blow clean/dry as I go... That sort of thing...

That's what you say TODAY. After you've had the experience of having air tools, and how easy they make automotive work, you'll be sorry you messed with anything less than 3HP, and a 20 gal tank. That's what my first compressor was.

I kept my eyes open, after the original compressor got tired, and when Sears had a sale (which is every 3-4 weeks), I bought a 5HP, 2 stage compressor, with an 80 gal. vertical tank. Never looked back, and I've had it for 25 years. (hard to believe it's been that long!!)
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:44 AM   #14
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I have 3 compressers, a 5 hp single with a 30 gallon tank, a 5 hp single with an 80 gallon tank and a 10 hp two stage with a 150 gallon tank and the one that gets the most use is the 5 hp single with the 80 gallon tank. If I could have only one thats what I would go with get a good 5 hp single with an 80 gallon tank. It will run any air tool you can paint with it and it will take care of a glass beading cabinet too.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:57 AM   #15
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If you have grouchy neighbors ( or wife ), also check the sound level before you buy it...
Some are really noisy !
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:57 AM
 
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